The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of self-controlling a movement sequence on learning a coincident timing task. Thirty young adults (age = 23± 5.5 years) with no previous experience with the task were randomly assigned into two groups with different movement sequence conditions, self-controlled (FREE) and externally controlled (DET). Participants were required to tap six sensors sequentially, the last one coinciding with the arrival of a visual stimulus (timing task). On acquisition, participants in the DET group had to tap the sensors in a determined sequence, while those in the FREE group were allowed to tap the sensors in any order (except for the last one, which was the same for both groups). While no difference was found regarding the number of trials needed to reach the performance criterion in acquisition, the group FREE showed higher timing errors in transfer compared to the group DET, indicating that self-controlling the movement sequence that precedes the coincidence impairs the learning of the motor skill.
Motor learning; Self-controlled learning; Sequence learning; Learning strategies